Sam's Club


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.

Membership Not Necessary 

You can’t beat the delicious $1.50 Costco hot dog and soda deal, but you do have to be a member in order to visited the beloved food court. Thankfully, that's not the case at every big-box retailer with food options.

A TikToker recently shared a video detailing how they purchased a Sam’s Club membership in order to try a birthday cake sundae offered at the food court. It turns out the retailer discontinued the treat, but the big news was the membership.

Commenters immediately chimed in, saying that you don’t even have to pay a membership fee to eat at Sam’s Club.

"Yeah so after I joined someone told me you don’t actually have to be a member to eat at the café. I was a little upset to learn that," says @queendele0n.

@queendele0n Yeah so after I joined someone told me you don’t actually have to be a member to eat at the café. I was a little upset to learn that however the membership literally was $25 so no regrets there. The experience was fruitful. @Sam’s Club I need that Birthday Cake Sunday back! 🙏🏽 #htxfoodie #houstonfoodreviews #samsclubfinds #samsclubcafe #samsclubsunday ♬ original sound - QueenDele0n

Commenters are right. Sam's Club allows customers to enjoy a meal at its cafes without being an actual member. "Sam’s Club Cafe in Fountain Valley, CA, is the perfect spot for a snack, lunch, or dinner. And you don’t have to be a member to enjoy a meal," the company's site proclaims, referencing one of its locations. Additionally, anyone can use the pharmacy or optical center. 

You do, however, have to be a member to actually buy items in the store. 

Do other big-box retailers have the same policy? 

The short answer is no. At Costco, you do indeed have to be a member to enter the store and access the food court. However, there may be a sneaky way around it. You don't need to be a Costco member to purchase Costco Pharmacy prescriptions, as the site claims. Can you sneak into the food court this way? Probably not, as you'll likely have to show your card — unless you happen to get an employee who doesn't care.

Does BJ's have a food court? Unfortunately, the retailer — which otherwise would land in a similar category to Sam's Club and Costco — no longer offers a cafe or food court. BJ's shoppers can grab a snack at Dunkin' Donuts kiosks instead. 

So ultimately, if you're not a member of Costco, Sam's Club, or BJ's, but want a big-box food court meal, you have one choice only: Sam's Club. But that doesn't mean you're just getting a consolation prize meal. According to @queendele0n, Sam’s Club’s cafe menu "is way cooler than Costco’s" anyway.

For more Sam's Club tips, please sign up for our free newsletters.

Cheapism in the News